Summer Intern Diaries- Lawyer’s Intuition

Hi again everyone!  This week’s blog is about the old adage “practice makes perfect” and how I’ve come to learn during my internship how it applies to the practice of law.  While I do expect to learn many of the skills of lawyering, such as legal research, writing and analytical thinking in law school, I’ve learned that the most fundamentally important skills of a good lawyer are learned through experience and practice.  Skills such as relationship building, the ability to read and understand people and situations, as well as thinking on your feet, are the most important qualities of a good lawyer. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to observe lawyers skilled in those qualities here at Houlon Berman.

Relationships Matter

One of my earliest observations during my many trips to the courthouse is how everyone is very sociable.  I am always impressed how often the lawyers in the courthouse know about each other’s families and the types of recreational activities they enjoy, etc.  I’ve learned that the relationships fostered are not only socially important; they are professionally important as well.  In the practice of law, building relationships with other attorneys and judges is essential to success.  It has been really valuable for me to observe how past experience with a judge or a prosecutor allows an attorney to choose the correct course of action for their client.  In addition to knowing how to approach each situation, building relationships is essential to helping them understand each client’s goals and needs.

A Lawyers Intuition

On a recent court trip, I was struck by how the attorney I accompanied predicted the exact course of events and ultimate results before even going into the courtroom.  This is far different than the TV courtroom, where every case features a shocking plot twist followed by a last minute piece of evidence that changes everything!  When I asked the attorney how he seemed to know what was going to happen, he stated that it was because of how many similar cases he had handled. This phenomenon I observed is what I like to call “lawyer’s intuition.”  This “power” develops when an attorney gains enough experience and begins to read various situations with ease.  In a profession where you can never tell what type of client or case will come through the door, the ability to read other people and diverse situations gives an attorney objective control, leading to good results and satisfied clients.

Practice Makes Perfect… Kind Of

“Practice makes perfect,” while a good concept, is inherently flawed.  As I have learned this summer, experience is an invaluable component of good lawyering and leads to the best results.

-Adam Firestone